KMJQ Featured Video

If it were up to Fox, they would have played a game of Simon Says with Simon Cowell, and the “American Idol” judge would have stayed in place beyond this season, according to sources.

“The ‘American Idol’ people were desperate for Simon to stay,” a show insider told Life & Style magazine. “They told him to name his price (to stay), but he still walked away.”

Cowell announced Jan. 11 that he will leave “Idol” after this season to bring his British talent show, “The X Factor,” to the United States. “X Factor” will debut on Fox during the fall 2011 television season, while “Idol” will air in the winter. Even though the two shows won’t compete head to head, the magazine reports that Cowell wants “X Factor” to “blow ‘American Idol’ out of the water.”

Is it likely? There’s plenty of speculation at this point.

“I think without Simon, the numbers will go down,” Scott Sternberg, a producer of Paula Abdul’s reality show, “Hey Paula,” told Life & Style. “I think we all feel that now there’s going to be a missing plug when he leaves.”

An announcement as to who will replace Cowell is a long way off, but current judge Randy Jackson is floating the idea to some — including Joy Behar. Jackson appeared on Behar’s HLN show recently and invited her to make an appearance on “Idol.”

Sounds like her work schedule might make that difficult, though: “I could, but you have Ellen. I mean, I have like between … let’s see, what time is it? I have like a little window I could sit there. But you have Ellen. You already have a comedian. She’ll be good, I think,” Behar said.

In the meantime, Cowell’s empire continues to expand: He has announced that his label, Syco, will partner with Sony Music to launch talent discovered through “X Factor.”